A sixth of all crime in the last year was vehicle crime.
You only have to look at the figures to see that vehicle crime has been getting worse and worse.
In 2013/14, the number of vehicles stolen was around 70,000 – but in 2017/18, that went to over 110,000.
That’s an increase of over 50%. Not good. Whether you’re driving your own vehicle or one of our car or vans for hire, it pays to be aware of the risks and how to avoid them.
There are a few ‘free’ steps to take. They might just sound like common sense, but most of us forget to do the basics because we’ve got so much going on.
Keep your seats clear of everything. It’s not just about valuables – a plastic bag filled with rubbish will look like a mystery prize to someone on the rob.
Always double check you’ve locked your doors when you leave you car. It costs nothing to click your key a couple more times.
And when you park up, make it somewhere safe. It’s the same with your keys – leave them in your house in plain sight, or close enough to your letterbox, and they can be lifted.
But even if you do all the little things right, you can still get stung.
There’s no way you can make your car or van 100% theft proof.
But what you can do is severely limit the ability of any potential thieves to get away with what they’re trying to do. Every level of protection you put on your vehicle will act as another level of deterrent, so it all makes a difference.
You can fit slam locks to your vehicle, meaning every time your door shuts, it’s locked. This means you don’t have to worry about forgetting to lock it at night, or if you’re quickly nipping in and out of it. (But keep your keys in mind with slam locks and don’t leave them in your vehicle. You want to keep thieves out of it, not yourself.)
You can fit a tracker to your vehicle too, so you know where it is at all times. If it does get stolen, you can track it down.
But to stop that from happening at all, you can fit an immobiliser. It won’t let your car start without the corresponding key, so even if someone does break into your vehicle, they can’t hot wire it.
There are no promises when it comes to people committing illegal acts for their own gain. How can there be?
But if you do what you can, you’ll put yourself in a much better position.
Take the right steps mentally and also make sure your vehicle has the right level of security. It’s all down to your circumstances – if you have a prestige car, the vehicle itself may be stolen, whereas a work van might get broken into for what’s inside.
Just do what you can. If you make it as hard as possible for them, you’ll feel confident and secure whenever and wherever you leave your vehicle.
And any amount of weight off your shoulders can only ever be a good thing.
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I needed to hire a car for a week and remembered the excellent service I had from Westwood a couple of years ago when I hired a van from them to move house. The only thing that’s changed since then is the service is even better. From my initial phone call to dropping the vehicle off the service was smooth, professional and warmly helpful.
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